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A rare apology from a hospital that caused cerebral palsy

Child smiling at table

Child with cerebral palsy smiling at table

It is not often you get an apology.

It is even less often you get an apology from the hospital that caused you harm.

So, I was surprised to read a headline that said:  “Hospital apologizes for a second time over birth of girl with cerebral palsy.”

In this business, as a medical malpractice lawyer, I can honestly say that most people would not come to me with a case if their doctor, nurse or hospital administrator took ownership and apologized for the mistakes they made that caused a patient to suffer.

We all make mistakes.

It is the flaw of being human that makes us all equals.

But, some of us are more emotionally evolved than others.  And, you would think, that doctors are those types of people.

However, as the son of two doctors, the nephew and cousin of many more, and the husband of one..

I can tell you that being around doctors makes me realize how less emotionally grounded so many of them are when it comes to their work and how they treat patients.

I can’t say that about my wife…of course 🙂

But, I know plenty of highly trained specialists who are not.

And, so, it surprised me when I saw that headline, because it is so rare that a hospital pays a medical malpractice claim, and, also apologizes for the errors that they made.

When it comes to cerebral palsy errors, there are many that can be caused by a midwife or ob/gyn.

There are many, as well, that can be caused for other reasons.

Some reasons that may cause you to question your doctor or midwife, should your child be diagnosed with cerebral palsy are the following:

  • Failure to induce a delivery or c-section when you have alerted them of reduced fetal movement
  • Forceful use of forceps during birth
  • Failure to recognize fetal distress during labor and acting to correct it
  • Failure to diagnose an infection in utero once they are alerted to distress
  • Failure to carefully handle your baby’s skull after delivery

In 90% of the cases, it is likely that there are other reasons for your baby’s diagnosis of cerebral palsy.

This is hard to accept and difficult to understand.

You’ve had a beautiful pregnancy.

Full of love, free of stress and full of anticipation.

So, it is difficult to believe…

almost impossible…

that your baby has cerebral palsy.

It is nothing that you have done wrong. And, in most cases, it is nothing the doctor, nurse or hospital did wrong.

But, in 10-15% of the cases, it is.

And, they are not going to tell you about it…most of the time.

They are not going to tell you they did something wrong.

Even the hospital that apologized and paid a large award to the family above, did not do so without filing a medical malpractice claim by an experienced and focused lawyer.

And that was in Europe. A place that holds businesses to higher standards.

In our country, these hospitals have legal teams that work and operate out of the hospital.

Our doctors are trained on what to say and what not to say.

You’ll never, likely, hear an apology where the doctor says they did certain things wrong.

If they did, it could mean their insurance rates go up or they lose their job.

They make the choice to do it, so I don’t feel bad for them, because it is not the right thing to do.

And that’s all I want to do.  The right thing for those children who have been injured and face a life of challenges not due to their own choices…

But due to the negligence of doctors, nurse and hospitals; I want to ensure that the care they give – the care they are being paid handsomely for – is the care they would give their family each, and every time.

So, that mothers like the one featured in the article I quoted above, don’t have to experience and say things like this:

“They apologised, but it is only words. At 3am in the morning when Katie is having a seizure what am I meant to do with that apology?” Mrs. Manton said.

Indeed…what are you to do with an apology?  They are only words.

My practice is about keeping doctors, nurses and hospitals honest.  To make them pay lots of money – only so they remember how their actions hurt their pockets and their families – as much as it hurts their victims.

If your child has cerebral palsy and your questions have not been answered, give me a call at 504-684-5455.

Let me help you answer your questions – so you know you did everything to find out whether your child was a victim of medical malpractice.

My name is Ramesh Reddy.  I am a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in the State of Louisiana.

This is why I do what I do.

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Most Medical Malpractice Victims Lose Before They Win

Louisiana medical malpractice lawyer

It is an open secret among Louisiana medical malpractice lawyers that all of us lose for our clients before we win.

But what does that mean?

Well, it means that no matter how good you might be, how great a case you might have, how clear and obvious the malpractice is, your case is almost certainly going to lose when the Medical Review Panel does their case review.

But, when you take that exact same case to trial, with the exact same evidence, after the review board shoots it down, you can win.

Simple Facts Don’t Mean Simple Results

Take for instance a recent case that concerned a young child, Elizabeth Zerangue, whose appendicitis went undiagnosed and resulted in it rupturing.

Elizabeth, 7 years of age, presented at Lafayette General Hospital with abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.  She saw Dr. Scott Hamilton, a pediatric ER physician, who failed to order certain diagnostic tests that could have deducted the appendicitis and extensive surgery and recovery that occurred thereafter.

It appears simple enough. 

Child goes to ER.  Complains of pain in abdomen. 

Doctor falls below the standard of care by failing to order a CT scan that would have found the appendicitis. 

Doctor discharges patient, who then worsens, and is forced to undergo surgery the following day. 

The cost of medical expenses was a whopping $217,000 for what could have been a simple, appendix removal.

She was further awarded more than $100,000 in general damages for pain and suffering.

You think that would be an open and shut case.

You think the insurance company for the doctor and the Patient’s Compensation Fund, which provides excess insurance for all Louisiana Qualified Health Care Providers, would have settled with Elizabeth’s family for, probably, a fraction of what they ultimately paid.

Unfortunately, that’s how it works in Louisiana medical malpractice cases.  No matter how straightforward or simple the fact pattern, doctors and their insurer (usually LAMMICO) are unwilling to settle cases quickly. 

The Cold Hard Truth

Instead they force plaintiffs and their lawyers into long, dragged out lawsuits, that almost certainly go to trial or, worse, don’t get plaintiffs paid because they are discouraged when they lose at the medical review panel stage. 

They want you to not file a case. 

They want you to be discouraged after the review panel where doctors win 92% of the time – that’s an actual statistic! 

They want you to give up even though they hurt you or your child.

Don’t Let Them Win

So what are you going to do?

Are you going to be a victim?  Are you going to let errant doctors ruin your child’s life and get away with it?

It is not just.  And they must pay so that other doctors are on notice that there is a consequence to failing to do their job correctly. 

Sure, accidents happen.  Mistakes are made.  But, you shouldn’t be able to get away with it.  You should step up and pay what is owed to those who have been harmed. 

Most doctors, most hospitals and most insurance companies won’t do it. 

They play the numbers and their numbers greatly favor them fighting a case, even if the doctor did something wrong.

These are not honorable people or honorable companies.  So we must make a stand.

I have directed my practice to helping those who want to make a stand because I know what it is like to have your family ripped apart due to medical negligence. 

I also know what it is like to be a son of two doctors and a husband to another. 

I know how both sides feel, which puts me in a position of great power to make change happen, fairly. 

Let me help you and your family find peace and justice.

I am Ramesh Reddy. 

I started the Reddy Law Group with one goal in mind:

To help medical malpractice victims and their families, like myself,

get justice when doctors harm them.

When medical accidents happen..Get Reddy

Call 504-684-5455

And be Heard!

  

Is your doctor at fault if your child has cerebral palsy?

 

If your child was recently diagnosed with cerebral palsy, I know there are many thoughts swirling around in your mind.  

Emotionally, you are going from sadness to anger, to fear to anxiety, to happiness when you see your beautiful baby is here, with you.  

There is a lot for you to sort through right now, and I want to help you answer one question so you may have less to think about: 

Can I sue my doctor if my child has cerebral palsy?

The answer is: YES, in certain circumstances…

What is Cerebral Palsy

First and foremost, let’s start with defining cerebral palsy and describe some of its causes.

Cerebral palsy is a group of brain disorders that appear in infancy or early childhood and affect muscle movement. 

Some symptoms may include the following:

In a Baby Younger Than 6 Months of Age

  • His head lags when you pick him up while he’s lying on his back
  • He feels stiff
  • He feels floppy
  • When you pick him up, his legs get stiff and they cross or scissor

In a Baby Older Than 6 Months of Age

  • She doesn’t roll over in either direction
  • She cannot bring her hands together
  • She has difficulty bringing her hands to her mouth
  • She reaches out with only one hand while keeping the other fisted

In a Baby Older Than 10 Months of Age

  • He crawls in a lopsided manner, pushing off with one hand and leg while dragging the opposite hand and leg
  • He cannot stand holding onto support

Not all causes of cerebral palsy are due to the fault of your doctor.  Certain genetic conditions or abnormal fetal development during pregnancy could all be causes that would not be your doctor’s fault.   

In fact, about 90% of cerebral palsy cases diagnosed each year are due to conditions outside of your control or your doctor’s.

However, there are some cases which cerebral palsy is due to your obstetrician or gynecologist’s (obgyn) failure to perform certain medical procedures correctly…

How is it caused by your doctor?

In the event where your doctor, nurse or hospital is, in fact, the cause of your baby’s cerebral palsy, these are some common reasons why they can be found at fault:

1. Failing to detect fetal distress

2. Failing to quickly perform a C-Section after detecting fetal distress

3. Incorrect use of forceps or vacuum suction during birth

4. Failure to diagnose certain maternal infections during pregnancy

5. Improper administration of certain drugs given to mom during pregnancy

6. Failing to properly prevent or treat an umbilical cord wrapped around baby’s neck

And many more…

Your legal rights in Louisiana

If you feel like your doctor caused your baby’s brain injury, you have legal rights in Louisiana that protect her so that she will have the money she needs to get the health care she needs for the rest of her life.

Also, you can live knowing you received the justice and the compensation you deserved, so that your family can live a happy life, without the stress of medical bills piling up.  

Louisiana’s medical malpractice law provides victims $500,000 in general damages also known as pain and suffering, plus past and future medical expenses for cerebral palsy victims.  

The process to get there is a marathon and not a sprint.

You will most likely need to file a case with the State of Louisiana’s Division of Administration to start a Medical Review Panel who will review your case.  

However, these panels follow court procedures and, in 96% of the time, the plaintiff loses.  

Choosing your guide

It is an extremely complicated and long process to get justice.

So, it is important that you hire a lawyer who practices almost exclusively in the area of birth injury law. 

Even if you do win at the medical panel stage, you will need someone who knows how to present the case to the panel and quickly get your case resolved in court or with the doctor’s lawyers, afterwards, so you get the most compensation for your baby’s injuries.  

Often times, the insurance company doesn’t want to pay, and will dangle a carrot that seems like a lot of money in front of you.  

Don’t take it.  

There is a reason they are doing it, and, I can almost guarantee you, it has nothing to do with looking out for your best interests.

So, you will want to hire someone who knows how to deal with them; someone who values you and your family as people first, and not, as a paycheck; someone whom you can spend hours talking to and who will always welcome your call as a friend.  

After all, that’s what happens after spending so much time together.  We become friends. 

Not all lawyers are built for that, but I am, because of what happened to me and my family

Your next steps…

It is simple. Call me for a free case evaluation.  

I will spend time with you talking about your case and will tell you what I think.  For Free.

Many times, I will ask for you to get your medical records so I can review them after we speak, and, if necessary, send them to an expert doctor to review them further for a medical opinion.

In the end you will get an answer to at least one of your questions that is, undoubtedly, occupying your mind daily.  

It is not fair what happened to your child and the person who caused that injury must answer for that.  

You will find that through this process you get back something you lost; your power and strength.

And, at the very least, you can move on knowing that you did everything you could to help your baby, even if it means that you find out the doctor didn’t do anything legally wrong.   

How much time do you have?

You should call me now.  I’m not saying that to be pushy.  Truly, I am not. 

I am saying it because all too often people call me too late. 

I don’t enjoy having to tell them the bad news that the law only gives you a short time to file a medical malpractice case. 

And you missed it because you waited.

I am waiting to hear from you and look forward to helping you answer this burning question of whether you have a case. 

Once it is answered you will have one less thing to think about.

All my best,

Ramesh

 

How My Brother’s Death Motivated Me To Start My Own Law Firm

The year was 2005, two months before Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc on thousands of lives.

I am staring at my dead brother. He is housed in a clear, glass box, plugged into the wall, so his body would stay preserved long enough for us to say our goodbyes.

I was 24 years old and more than seven thousand miles away when I first heard the news. I was in my hometown New York, finishing up my post baccalaureate requirements for entering medical school.

I was preparing for my final exams when my parents, both doctors, called to tell me that my mother was flying to India earlier than planned, to see my brother.

See, my parents and I were planning on visiting him in ten days, once I had finished my exams. So this news caught me by surprise.

“Why are you leaving early? What is going on? Is he ok?”

“Yes, yes Ramesh, everything is fine. Harish is in the hospital, but your aunt is with him and he will be ok.”

I was the youngest and most emotional member of our family. They thought they were “protecting” me by sugar coating the situation.

I was nervous.

I hadn’t seen my brother in six months. He had departed New York City to start a business with a colleague and friend. He had big dreams of starting a day trading firm while training less fortunate Indian professionals how to do what he did.

And for once in his adult life, he was really jazzed about something. I was excited for him and for what might come.

But those dreams ended on June 10, 2005 when doctors and nurses failed him.

While in the hospital, after suffering a heart attack at age 33, he was left unrestrained, and with little sedation. An intubation tube sat lodged in his throat to help him breathe. Paradoxically, it became the reason for his untimely death.

Due to his lack of sedation and with his hands left unrestrained, he yanked the tube out of his throat. This caused a massive heart attack and his body to crash, leaving him in a comatose state from which he would never awake.

By God’s grace, my mother arrived before he finally passed away. She was with him when he entered the world and she would be with him when he departed. But I would never speak to him again.

His loss left me with lots of deep philosophical questions. Almost immediately I questioned if I could be a doctor anymore. I didn’t want to be in hospitals re-living these moments, day in and day out, yet I could be the doc who would save lives and prevent negligence like this from happening to others. Ultimately, I chose not to continue in medicine.

I also had practical questions. What would happen next? Who would pay for how my brother was treated?

I was angry.

I didn’t want money, I wanted answers.

I wanted justice to be served.

Who would help us do that and what would that process be like? How long would it take? How much would it cost? Who is the right person to represent us amidst all the lawyers out there? Would it be worth it? Would it take longer for us to move on as a result?

What would my brother want us to do?

It was hard to figure out and some twelve years later (the legal system in India is horrendous, we are still battling it out in court).

Some years later I decided to become a lawyer myself. I decided to focus on winning medical malpractice claims for those who suffered like me. Maybe I could not fight for him in the hospital but I could do it in the courtroom.

It’s a strange feeling to be without your only sibling. Twelve years later the wounds have still not fully healed; I don’t believe they ever will. But that’s for a good reason…

It is imperative that we do something good with the tragedies we experience in life. Motivation can come from all sorts of places, but the strongest motivators come from the deepest pains we experience.

I can never bring Harish back, but he stands with me, every day; every time I pick up the phone and talk to a malpractice victim; and every time I look in the mirror and ask myself if I am living my life fully.

This is why I do what I do.

I love you bro, thank you for this gift.

Ramesh

The Reddy Law Group
www.getreddy.co

Why should I get my medical records?…Your My Lawyer, Do Your Job!

I am your attorney and I promise, I am doing my job :).

Sometimes, us attorneys get the short end of the stick.  The world doesn’t think too kindly of us – until they need an attorney (which we all do at some point in our life).

I was recently at a Tony Robbin’s event (the motivational speaker guy).  He did a poll of the stadium we were in.  He asked:

“How many people here are business owners – raise your hands.  Most of the room raised their hand.”

“How many of you are doctors – raise your hands. About ten percent of the room raised their hand.”

“How many of you are lawyers – raise your hand – ok put them down we don’t want to know who you are.” 

That’s the joke right.  There are so many of us and no-one likes us.  Hence the many jokes in our vernacular.  And, even, the most lovable motivational guy in the world, who has made hundreds of millions and, undoubtedly, employs a team of lawyers, makes jokes about us.

So, naturally, it makes sense why clients may scoff at hearing that I request them to get medical records to me before I take their case.

Ok you got me, I am lazy and cheap.  My mom has been saying it my whole life and I guess some things stick, right?

Wrong.  She was wrong (I love you mom) and the understanding as to why we request you get this for us, has been interpreted incorrectly.

Can you guess the number 1 reason we ask you to get medical records for us?

Drum roll…because the hospitals’ lawyers will make it difficult for us to get them. 

That’s right.  Once, you hear that you have an attorney on the other end of a request for anything – you immediately tighten up.  Even other attorneys do this. 

Ask yourself how you would feel if you heard the following at the other end of a phone call.

“Hi, my name is Ramesh Reddy, I’d like to ask you a few questions, do you have a moment?”

versus

“Hi, my name is Ramesh Reddy, I am a attorney, I’d like to ask you a few questions, do you have moment?”

You feel different right?  Which one makes you feel less at ease?  The second one, no doubt.

So, when we ask you to get your medical records, it is for your own benefit, not ours. 

First of all, discovering whether you have malpractice claim goes so much faster.  You are entitled to get those records on the same day you request them.  You can show up at the hospital and demand your records and images on disk. 

They must give you a digital copy of your images, and if you request your records on the disk, most facilities will happily comply to save the ink.  Once you give them to us, we can begin our investigatory work immediately, instead of waiting the thirty to sixty days it would normally take to get our records.

Second, believe it or not, when defense lawyers start getting involved before a lawsuit is filed in court, they will withhold certain information from those records that may prove incriminating.  I know, it sounds creepy and illegal, but they do this. 

In one case a friend of mine had, the opposing counsel, later on in the trial, produced incriminating evidence showing the sponge count of sponges that were used in a procedure (one of which was left in the patient who filed the law suit).  

They claimed it was an internal document and was not required to be produced based on the initial request made by the lawyer.  

Yet it proved the case for the plaintiff’s lawyers, but only after years of waiting for it!  Defense counsel happily billed their client for their time, even though they should have done the right thing from the start.  

Hmmm…I may be rethinking my view of lawyers

So, even though some lawyers are lazy and cheap, at the Reddy Law Group, I can assure you we are neither.  If the hospital charges you for the records, we will happily pay you what they charged you.  Once we get the records, we promise to get back to you, ASAP, on your chances of succeeding.

Raise your hand if you love your lawyer now!  

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A Little Known Secret for Saving Your Injury Settlement from the IRS (Especially for you Turbo Tax users)

Tax, Settlement

Save money in your piggybank

Since it is that time of year again that all Americans love (paying Uncle Sam), it is essential to know the ins and outs of what you owe to the taxman on your injury settlement check. 

Likely, it is the most money you have seen at one time in your whole life.  So, the old adage of spend wisely couldn’t be more apt. 

Here’s why…

Meet my injury prone friend Clumsy Bill.  Clumsy Bill gets in all sorts of trouble when he is driving the streets of New Orleans.  He’s been in one too many accidents – and,  as a result, he is not quite right in the head.

Meet his wife Careful Betty.  Being a woman, Careful Betty has inherited genes that makes her far superior to her husband Clumsy Bill.  She never gets into accidents (except when Bill is driving) and always keeps a level head.

Why they ever got married, her mother Nancy will never know, but, Careful Betty and Clumsy Bill are madly in love despite their different inherent abilities.

One fine day, Clumsy Bill is driving Careful Betty to get her hair done.  As he is texting on his phone in a busy intersection – despite admonitions from his wife – his car is struck on the passenger side by a 1957 Mint Green Buick Skylark, being driven like a bat out of hell by Dumb Dave, who, incidentally, wanted to know what it felt like to intentionally slam into a car (he must have seen Fight Club the night before).

Both Clumsy Bill and Careful Betty are seriously injured.  They miss several weeks of work and both have permanent injuries preventing them from doing the type of work they did before. 

They are promptly fired from their jobs.

After many weeks and months of moping, they reach out to their friend, an experienced car accident attorney in Louisiana (it might even be me).

After a few months of negotiations, State Farm, the liability insurer, and GEICO, the Underinsured Motorist Insurer, settle for the full policy limits of each policy (wow, I’m really that good?).   

Additionally, their enlightened attorney sued their employers for wrongfully terminating them under federal laws and secured a separate settlement for that case. 

Clumsy Bill and Careful Betty are ecstatic at the settlement money they receive.  Clumsy Bill can’t wait to spend it on a vacation from all of the madness this accident has created in their lives.  He dreams of all the exotic places they can go and experiences they can share together.

Meanwhile, Careful Betty knows better.  She knows the taxman sometimes dips his hand in pockets that are unsuspecting.  She wants to make sure the money they got is all theirs, or, if they must reserve some for Uncle Sam. 

So…Careful Betty books a visit with their accountant, Savvy Steve.  Savvy Steve tells them he is glad they came to visit because, indeed, all the money is not their’s to keep. 

Here is the breakdown under federal laws…

Try and figure out which ones require tax payments and which ones are exempt. 

When a personal injury award is made by settlement or by a jury there is a breakdown of different types of damages: compensatory and punitive. 

Compensatory is meant to put the victim back in the place they were before the accident by paying them.  Within these there are special damages (medical bills, lost wages) and general damages (pain and suffering, mental anguish).

Punitive damages are meant to punish someone for intentionally or recklessly inflicting harm on the victim.  These are meant to deter extreme behavior.  The types of damages are:

Lost wages past and future

Pain and Suffering

Medical care past and future

Loss of Consortium

Mental Anguish

Punitive Damages

Did you figure it out?  I’ll give you a clue…some of these have tricky answers.

In this scenario, almost all of these are tax exempt with some caveats…

If Bill and Betty took an itemized deduction for past medical care and received a tax benefit in a prior year’s return due to this accident (meaning the settlement check straddled two different tax years), B&B will have to pony up and pay Uncle for the money they received back in the settlement (i.e. no double dipping) that was deducted in the prior year’s return.

If Bill’s mental anguish is due to witnessing Betty’s horrific experience, he would have to pay taxes at ordinary income rates because it is not his physical injuries that are causing this distress. 

However, if his mental anguish is due to his own experience from physical injuries he sustained, he would not have to pay taxes at all (assuming he made no deductions for this on prior returns). 

Same with Loss of Consortium and Pain and Suffering.  These are compensatory damages.  Therefore these are not taxable because they are not “earned income” but compensation to return the victim to her original state of being.

Bill’s and Betty’s future and past lost wages claims arising out of their personal injury are taxable because these would be taxed anyway had they actually worked for it. 

Punitive damages are almost always taxable.  So Dumb Dave will have to pay for his devilish ways.

However, in their employment discrimination settlement, all of the proceeds are taxed assuming no physical injuries resulted from the discrimination itself.  Depending upon the basis for the claim, their attorney’s fees can be deducted “above the line,” such that their gross income is reduced to a lower adjusted gross income.  If they don’t do this, they would be paying taxes on their attorney’s fees, even though that money was never theirs. 

The premise for these statements comes directly from the IRS.  You can read about it here at: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p4345.pdf for a detailed summary of the above.

The moral of the story is this…it is better to be a Careful Betty than a Clumsy Bill. 

Just like you would hire an accountant who knows how to count and make proper deductions, you want to hire an attorney who specializes in the area where you were injured, especially when it comes to car accidents and medical malpractice.  These two areas are highly specialized arenas (despite what you think of the attorneys you’ve met and seen on television). 

At the Reddy Law Group we make a difference in the lives of our clients by giving personalized, individualized attention to our clients.  We focus solely on car accidents and medical malpractice because it takes 10,000 hours of study in each specialization to become the Tony Robbins of these niche practices. 

I’m interested in learning if any of you have experienced difficulty with the IRS when it came to reporting settlement proceeds income.  Please leave a comment below. 

Why filing your Louisiana Medical Malpractice Claim is not like Selling Your Home

How many times have you thought to yourself why am I paying a lawyer all that money?

It kind of reminds me of how I think about real estate agents.  Maybe you think like this too…

I mean…I’m usually home anyway when she does a showing (because I don’t like strangers in my house without me there). 

I have to tidy up and put on a smile.  I shake a few hands and I still do most of the talking.

The interweb tells me how much my house is worth and I can read a million blog posts on negotiation tactics.

On top of all that, my agent still has to call me for anything important and I make all the decisions on price.  So what gives?

I feel like my agent is robbing me of 6% because I am doing all the work!

Many of us think that we can do a lot of things on our own (men especially have this problem).  And, with enough time and dedication that is true.  We are built to learn, adapt and apply skills to problems. 

But how much time is that going to take you?  You have a job, a family and you want free time. 

Oh yeah, and you just got hurt by a negligent doctor, so you are pissed and in pain and don’t want to spend money on a lawyer because you’ve sold your house on your own before.  You figure it can’t be rocket science, after all, the law allows me to file a claim and a lawsuit on my own.  

If we all lived in the Matrix we could just download information and apply it instantly to any problem, and get it right the first time. 

But, if you are anything like me, it takes a little while before you can become competent in most things.  Most of the time you are spending learning by making tons of mistakes and applying your lessons learned for the next time.  Except, when it comes to medical malpractice cases, you hopefully don’t have a next time.  So can you really afford to make mistakes?  

Sometimes, you can get away with it (like the following couple did)…but I don’t recommend it.

A few years ago a couple filed a medical malpractice claim with the Patient’s Compensation Fund in Louisiana, against West Bank Surgery Center and Dr. Mark Juneau, that ended up in Louisiana’s highest court.  (Darrin Coulon v. Endurance Risk Partners, et al.)

They did this without the help of an attorney (I presume they had used an agent once in their life). 

They alleged medical negligence against this facility and its employees but did not specify negligence against a particular health care provider as outlined by the Medical Malpractice Act and tried to bring in that provider when suit was eventually filed (click the link below for how medical review panels and filing suit work).

Or so the defendants had thought….

You see, after the panel convened and ruled, as permitted by law, the plaintiffs then filed a lawsuit against these defendants, but alleged new providers had injured them. 

When they filed the lawsuit the defendants were able to get it dismissed based on an exception of prematurity.  Basically, a lawsuit cannot be brought against parties unless they are first brought to a medical review panel.  

And the defendants won! Well, almost…

The couple appealed that decision to the next court and lost.  But then appealed again to the supreme court of Louisiana, and they WON!  (But, it took years)

At issue was the language they had used to characterize the new providers alleged by the defense.  These providers were actually nurse employees of the surgery center who had not been named by name.

The Court determined that the language the couple had used in its brief to the panel was broad enough to include the nurses , and, thus, they were adjudged as named health care providers by the panel.

You see, this apparently minor procedural error (that could have easily been avoided), but YUGE mistake (in the words of Trump) could have made them lose.  They would not have been able to bring the claim if the supreme court had affirmed the lower courts’ decisions.

After all that time (five years in fact)… the case was then sent back down to the district level court to actually try the merits of the case before a jury.

I know what you are saying to yourself… Are you kidding me?

After all that time spent in the courts.  After all that painstaking work and waiting for decisions from subsequent courts. 

After all the sleepless nights and banging yourselves over the head for possibly losing on a minor procedural issue, they then have the opportunity to actually try the case to see if a jury believes that medical negligence occurred? 

And, oh wait…they are very likely to lose again because of the complexity of trying medical malpractice cases before a jury!

So why did this happen? How could they have shaved years off of the case?

Because they wanted to be their own agents. 

This couple thought they were Neo, thought they could easily download information, forgo the Agent (the Matrix puns continue) and sell their house. 

What they built and tried to sell was a House of Cards (this is getting entertaining)…and they got lucky!

So the big takeaway is this…

Medical malpractice law is Uber-complicated and not as simple as sticking a For Sale By Owner sign in the yard, crossing your fingers and waiting for the phone to ring. 

While it is fairly simple to sell your house.  It is extremely complex to handle a medical malpractice claim. 

In fact, most lawyers who practice in personal injury law can’t do it (they send me their cases) because it is too hard.  Too easy to mess up. 

So, when deciding on pursuing a claim don’t be your own agent – just like you wouldn’t be your own surgeon.

Find a medical malpractice lawyer who knows their stuff and will guide you through the crevasses before you fall. 

Because these claims can fail at any moment, you want a skilled guide to walk you through safely and give you the best advice possible for conquering your claim.  It is the only shot you are going to get and there is no room for error.  

Now, go sell your home!

  

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Wasted time could cost you your claim

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Eeeeeeeeeeeeek its too late…

You finally decided to have that surgery you had been putting off to correct your lower back pain.

You go in for surgery and come out feeling better than ever.  A few weeks pass and you have reduced your pain medication substantially,

but, to your dismay…the pain is back.

You return to your doctor to see what is going on. 

He tells you one thing or the other, and, suggests going back in to have surgery to correct the issue.  Again!

You trust him because he was recommended to you by a good friend and you don’t think twice about his reputation because he is a surgeon with years and years of training.   

You go into surgery and he spends a short time correcting the issue, and voila!, you are all better right? 

Wrong! 

Months later you return feeling worse than you did the first time around.  This situation goes on and on for some time until you go to another surgeon who corrects the problem.

He also informs you that it was done incorrectly the first time and below the standard of care expected for surgeons in the field.

You are disappointed but are not the type of person that sues.  After all, people make mistakes and doctors are people too.

You don’t have the time in a hectic schedule between work and schlepping the kids around to deal with this. 

Time passes…one month, two months then one year. 

You’ve gotten used to the pain.  You’ve gotten used to protecting your back.  You can’t play with your kids the way you used to.  You can’t exercise the way you used to.  You can’t be the person you used to be.

These thoughts race through your head as you are watching television one night with your family.  You see an ad for a local personal injury lawyer and his client who says that he recovered a six figure settlement for his injury. 

You start thinking…You’ve adapted your life to accommodate this mistake.  And you are sad and angry that this doctor should take responsibility for his mistake that cost you so much.

That night you dial the number for that television lawyer.  He tells you that you have an open and shut case.  He says you have three years to file a case from the date you knew or should have known about the malpractice. 

Except, after he files the case with Louisiana’s Patient’s Compensation Fund the defense gets it easily dismissed.

Because he was not a specialist in medical malpractice cases he didn’t realize that while a victim has only three years to file a claim, in actuality, she has only year from the date she knew or should have known about the injury.  Moreover, she can’t file a valid claim, at all, after three years from the date of the malpractice, even if she didn’t know about it. 

Louisiana’s rule is harsh.  Non-specialist lawyers as well as regular people like you, can make significant mistakes when filing these complicated cases.

Your case, which would have certainly brought you justice and a sizable amount of money, will be dismissed because you filed your case more than one year after you had actual knowledge of alleged malpractice (this happened when the second doctor told you about it).

You come to find out that Louisiana has one of the shortest periods of time within which a suit must be filed when a person is injured. 

And, you kick yourself that you waited. 

You had the time to make justice happen for you and your family, but you were too accommodating.

Meanwhile, your surgeon has performed more botched surgeries to more helpless victims who, more likely than not, will make the same mistake as you and wait until it is too late.

Don’t let doctors get away with making mistakes.  Too much is at stake, and too much can be lost, for you and your family to just walk away.

When doctors have a bad day…don’t be the one who pays.

Get Reddy to win your medical malpractice claim today.

To Settle or Not To Settle? That is the question, ya’ll!

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Often times I am asked if a client should accept a settlement offer from the insurance company or go to trial.

My answer is usually the same…”it depends on your situation.”

But the truth is most of the time settlements are a good thing…in fact a great thing.  Here are my top three reasons why:

  • You can get paid quickly
  • You can get paid more
  • You can move on with your life

You can get paid quickly

Trials can take months of what we call discovery – namely, discovering facts about the case and putting forth an argument based on those facts to present the best possible case for our clients.   

And it could take years before that case is presented to a judge or jury before any settlement award is given.  And I’m not even talking about the years of appeals that could happen after…

With a fair settlement, both parties compromise and reach an agreement that is mutually beneficial and is quickly paid out. 

You can get paid more

What a lot of lawyers don’t tell their clients is that they run their cases like record labels did back in the day. 

They don’t explain fully that all of the money spent upfront to produce their potential large case award gets paid back to them before their client gets paid anything. 

So even if it looks like going to trial will provide a very large award at the end of the day…the costs of going to trial are so high, that the client can go home with less money than they would have had they taken a lower settlement offer before trial.

You can move on with your life

Traumatic events are tough enough.  Now let’s add months or years of rehashing the accident and not getting paid – while expenses build up from being out of work.  All of which is on top of trying to recover physically and emotionally.  Moving on from accidents can happen much faster if a settlement agreement is reached.

The threat of trial can produce large settlement awards

However, from the moment you select Reddy Law Group, we are prepping your case for trial.  We will go to trial if you do not receive a settlement offer that we can agree upon is fair. 

It is important for the insurance companies to know that they are dealing with a lawyer who has the resources and capabilities to go to trial on every case where a reasonable offer is not presented.

At Reddy Law Group we have those resources and capabilities necessary to make that happen.  Contact us today for a free case evaluation.